California Association of Resource Conservation Districts

The California Association of Resource Conservation Districts (CARCD) is 501c3 organization providing support to 97 resource conservation districts statewide.  The Association facilitates critical support for RCDs among local, regional, statewide, and nationwide elected and appointed officials, in addition to working with funders to develop opportunities for RCD acquisition and facilitation of on-the-ground projects throughout California.  In 2016, CARCD secured unprecedented funding in the  2016-17 state budget, all of which is being managed by the California Department of Conservation and directed to capacity-building efforts among California Resource Conservation Districts.  The funding accompanies the development of a voluntary accreditation program under review and set for approval in 2017, ultimately projected to be used in demonstrating individual and statewide function and capacity of Districts.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife

The mission of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife is to manage California's diverse fish, wildlife, and plant resources, and the habitats upon which they depend, for their ecological values and for their use and enjoyment by the public. The IERCD has partnered with CDFW on conservation of properties identified as critical for function and survival of dependent species, including pebble plain and wet meadow parcels in the Big Bear Valley.  The District and CDFW also partner on addressing local and regional impacts from development, regulated under the Department's Lake and Streambed Alteration Program, and facilitated through developer funding of corresponding natural resource uplift available through IERCD's ever-expanding suite of sites suitable for mitigation placement.  Highlights of current projects facilitated by the IERCD under the permitting authority of CDFW include open space preservation in Chino Hills, enhancement of mixed habitats in the Devil's Canyon region of San Bernardino, and restoration of chamise/scrub oak habitat in Beaumont.

City of Yucaipa

The IERCD collaborates regularly with the City of Yucaipa, located east of the City of Redlands and south of the community of Oak Glen in San Bernardino County.  The District and City have collaborated on many projects over the course of their multi-year partnership; highlights include native landscaping and educational signs provided by the District within the City's award-winning Oak Glen Basins water quality and quantity improvement project; removal of tree of heaven throughout Yucaipa funded by IERCD with City support, and IERCD facilitation of multiple conservation easement and mitigation projects within City limits.  In addition to these highlights, the District and City also partner on the annual Make a Difference Day volunteer event, performance of classroom conservation programming within the Yucaipa-Calimesa Joint Unified School District, and collaborative grant application development and project management. 

City of San Bernardino's Municipal Water Department

The IERCD and City of San Bernardino Municipal Water Department began collaborating in 2010, with the execution of the first contract requesting IERCD performance of water conservation education on behalf of the City.  Since that initial contract, the District and City have worked together on an annual basis, with San Bernardino funding IERCD performance of water conservation classroom programming and assistance in facilitating the annual Water Conservation Poster Contest.  In 2015, the City began contributing in-kind support to IERCD facilitation of community programming at California State University at San Bernardino's water conservation demonstration garden.  

San Bernardino County Special Districts Department

The San Bernardino County Special Districts Department (SDD) began working with the IERCD in 2009, collaborating on application for grant monies from the Habitat Conservation Fund for use at the then 1,200-A North Etiwanda Preserve (NEP).  The NEP is a contiguous conserved area north of the City of Rancho Cucamonga, set aside as mitigation for impacts related to the extension of the 210 freeway.  Since its dedication as a conserved space, the NEP has grown to over 1,700-A and boasts a series of educational signs and trails, leading visitors passively over its grounds while featuring key vegetation communities, wildlife, and vestiges of water conveyance systems and previous indigenous and early settler populations the site once housed.  Other key NEP partners include the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

In 2010, the IERCD and SDD began facilitation of annual educational field trips to the Preserve for grades 2-12, focusing on NEP-centric topics including fire, water conservation,  and sensitive, threatened, and endangered species.  The trips are continuing in the current academic year, and details for booking, what to expect, and a list of state and federal educational standards corresponding to trip content can be viewed on the SDD and IERCD websites.  All trips are free, including busing.

National Association of Conservation Districts

Similar in organization and ideology to the CARCD, the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) is also a voluntary organization dedicated to facilitating collaboration and communication among the over 3,000 conservation districts nationwide. The NACD supports voluntary, incentive-driven natural resource conservation programs that benefit all citizens and provide important information on conservation policy and general information to assist RCD's in their daily operations.  Membership in NACD and regular engagement with the Association and its members is critical for conservation districts nationwide, to ensure ongoing prioritization of RCD and CD priorities in state and federal policy and programs.  The IERCD continues to be a member in good standing, and President Paul Williams serves as the CARCD alternate representative to NACD to ensure California interests and priorities remain represented.

Natural Resources Conservation Service

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has always maintained close ties with the nationwide network of Conservation Districts.  The NRCS began as the Soil Conservation Service (SCS) which was formed during the dust bowl era of the 1930's in response to losses in topsoil and soil productivity, and mounting erosion problems. The Soil Conservation Service worked directly with small, locally organized public agencies called Soil Conservation Districts (SCDs), generally established between 1945 and 1950, to act as liaisons between the SCS and landowners wary of working directly with the Federal Government.   Over time, identification of additional resource needs beyond soil resulted in the change to the Natural Resources Conservation Service and Resource Conservation Districts.  Today, these long-term partners still work alongside one another, providing technical assistance in a variety of capacities to service-area residents.

The Inland Empire RCD and the Redlands area Natural Resources Conservation Service staff share a local field office and collaborate through use of funding associated with a series of cooperative agreements executed between the two agencies.  Services offered to area residents as a result of this partnership include but are not limited to assistance with invasive species control, agricultural efficiency, pollinator support, and general soil health issues.

Redlands Conservancy

The Redlands Conservancy is a nonprofit group operating within the City of Redlands to protect the historically significant architecture as well as the natural and open spaces that are under threat of development. The IERCD works with the Redlands Conservancy and its Executive Director on the Land Trust portion of the Conservancy's mission, as it directly overlaps with the IERCD's mission of open space and habitat preservation. The Conservancy owns several parcels of open space located in close proximity to parcels controlled by the District, which has increased collaboration among the two agencies in an effort to maintain the biological integrity of these interrelated sites.

Together, the IERCD and Redlands Conservancy partner on projects including public education and outreach events such as Trails at Ten and Sunday Funday Outdoor Series; control of invasive species and restoration of degraded habitat on Redlands Conservancy-controlled properties in San Timoteo Canyon, and through IERCD provision of in-kind staff time for Redlands Conservancy fundraisers to generate money put towards conservation, restoration, and education in overlapping service areas.

The Riverside Land Conservancy

The Riverside Land Conservancy (RLC) is a 501c3 land trust, working to conserve, enhance, and restore the many open spaces they hold throughout southern California.  RLC's 16-member Board of Directors and administrative, biological, and educational staff work to carry out their mission of resource uplift in combination with public education and outreach facilitated through classroom programming, field days, and volunteer opportunities.


IERCD and RLC partner on several projects, with highlights including collaboration on conservation and restoration in San TImoteo Canyon on the Conservancy's Cienega property; working together on grant application and management; and assistance on indoor/outdoor education programs run by each agency including Student Landowner Education and Watershed Stewardship (SLEWS) and Acorns-to-Oaks.

Santa Ana Watershed Association

The Inland Empire RCD has worked closely with the Santa Ana Watershed Association (SAWA), since its inception, particularly because the District is one of SAWA’s member organizations.  The Santa Ana Watershed Association is a nonprofit organization, and maintains a similar mission to the IERCD, in its commitment to the protection and improvement of natural resources existing within the confines of the Santa Ana River Watershed.   In particular, SAWA focuses on the removal of invasive species of vegetation and wildlife, on native habitat enhancement and on the protection of endangered and/or threatened species. SAWA has five member agencies including the IERCD in addition to the Orange County Water District, the Riverside-Corona Resource Conservation District, the San Jacinto Basin Resource Conservation District, and the Temecula Elsinore Anza Murrieta Resource Conservation District.


IERCD and SAWA collaborate on a number of enhancement and restoration projects, primarily through agreements executed between the two agencies that allow for ongoing staff-sharing.  In recent years, SAWA has provided technical and biological assistance on both IERCD and NRCS projects, enabling efficient approach to conservation work while remaining fully compliant with natural resource legal requirements for work completion.

San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District

The San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District (SBVMWD) was created to provide long-range water supply for the arid San Bernardino Valley.  Consistent with its mission, the SBVMWD provides water, as well as wastewater and stormwater disposal, recreation, and fire protection services to its residents; however, it does not provide water directly to retail water consumers.   The expanding population of the Inland Empire, coupled with shifting climatic patterns has made the SBVMWD critical to the continued support of local and regional water supply for consumers in the region.

The SBVMWD-IERCD Partnership began in 2008, with the water district funding limited performance of IERCD facilitation of water conservation classroom programming.  Since the initial partnership year, the annual contracting between the two entities has expanded to include programming for adult community groups, facilitation of presentations at the drought-tolerant demonstration garden on the campus of California State University, San Bernardino, installation of small demonstration gardens on the campuses of schools and community facilities within shared service areas, and most recently, assistance in design and promotion of water conservation-focused regional events for the public.  The SBVMWD is a valued partner of the IERCD and significant supporter of the ongoing refinement of the resource conservation district's suite of conservation programming.

San Gorgonio Pass Water Agency

The mission of the San Gorgonio Pass Water Agency is to import supplemental water and to protect and enhance local water supplies for use by present and future water users and to sell imported water to local water districts within its service area. Retailers working with the SGPWA include the Yucaipa Valley Water District (the Calimesa area), the Beaumont Cherry Valley Water District (Beaumont and Cherry Valley), and the City of Banning.

The IERCD-SGPWA partnership began in 2011-12 with the Agency’s initial support of IERCD performance of water conservation presentations to K-12 classrooms within shared service areas. Since that first contracting year, the SGPWA has increased its support for IERCD water conservation programming, both in terms of total classrooms requested annually and in experimental programming such as facilitation of field trips to the Agency’s on-site demonstration garden. If you are within SGPWA’s service area and are interested in hosting one of these free classroom or community programs, please contact IERCD education coordinator Jasmine Orozco at jorozco@iercd.org or 909-799-7407.

The Water Resources Institute at Cal State San Bernardino

The Water Resources Institute was established on the campus of the California State University at San Bernardino in 1999, in an effort to highlight the increasing importance of preserving and enhancing regional water quality and supply.  The WRI began with the support of several “Founder Agencies,” including the Inland Empire Utilities Agency, the San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District, and the West Valley Water District, which allowed the organization to hire staff and fund research projects.  Currently, the WRI is in the process of developing and maintaining a Watershed Decision Support System which assists regional agencies in making policy choices that involve evaluating each at a watershed-level scale.

The IERCD and WRI partner primarily on the performance of programming funded by the San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District, facilitated within the 1-Acre drought-tolerant demonstration garden on the campus of CSUSB.  These programs began in 2015-16 and are continuing in 2016-17, with scheduled topics including water conservation hardscaping, drought-tolerant and native species landscaping, and tree care during drought, among others.  The WRI provides critical planning and in-kind support for these programs including advertisement to the entire CSUSB campus community.

United States Forest Service

The United States Forest Service is a Federal agency working to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands for present and future generations. The USFS was formed in 1905 under President Theodore Roosevelt to be the lead agency in natural resource conservation, and fosters an ecosystem-wide approach to enhance the quality of the environment.  The USFS operates a nonprofit arm, the San Bernardino National Forest Association, which operates programs to assist residents with vegetation management in order to reduce the threat of fire and flooding in mountain communities.


The District has collaborated with USFS on multiple projects, including habitat restoration, sensitive species’ monitoring, and creation of project maps. Currently, the IERCD is working with rangers from the Front County Station to conduct the removal of four invasive species from open space located in the Cajon Pass region of the forest, in order to increase the biological functionality of the area for all dependent species. 

West Valley Water District

The mission of the West Valley Water District is to provide a reliable, safe drinking water supply to meet customer present and future needs at a reasonable cost and to promote water-use efficiency and conservation.This mission is the guiding principle behind WVWD’s work on behalf of their over 70,000 residents in the communities of Bloomington, Colton, Fontana, Rialto, parts of unincorporated areas in San Bernardino, and a portion of Jurupa Valley in Riverside County.

The IERCD and WVWD partnership began in 2013-14 with the water district providing funding for IERCD performance of youth and adult water conservation presentations within shared service areas. In the following two years, the water district increased its total level of funding available for these programs, and in the current year, WVWD has increased its contract with the IERCD to facilitate workshops on water conservation classroom activities and lesson planning for educators within IERCD and WVWD service areas.

If you are within WVWD’s service area and are interested in performance of free classroom or adult community group water conservation programming, please contact IERCD education coordinator Jasmine Orozco at jorozco@iercd.org or 909-799-7407.

Yucaipa Valley Water District

The Yucaipa Valley Water District provides water services to residential, commercial and industrial customers, and also provides wastewater and recycled water services for the Yucaipa and Calimesa areas.  As with other local and regional water providers, the YVWD must adhere to the reduction in per-capita use by consumers by 20%, by the year 2020. In recognition of this requirement, the YVWD has implemented several programs designed to stabilize local water supply on addition to developing additional sources for their continually growing population of customers, with highlights including the ongoing increase in recycled water infrastructure and supply; the adoption of a sustainability plan; and support of regional projects such as the multiple sets of flood control and water quality and quantity enhancement basins in the City of Yucaipa.

The partnership between IERCD and YVWD consists primarily of YVWD funding of water conservation classroom programming to schools within shared service areas.  These programs are offered to schools and community groups, and include an interactive Prezi presentation, hands-on activity for students, and provision of pre and post-program content for educators.  All programs are free to the requesting party and can be scheduled through IERCD's education coordinator Jasmine Orozco at jorozco@iercd.org or 909-799-7407.

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